How I Learned To Be A Pro Closet Organizer

by Charlene Flanagan

Whether it’s my desk drawer, filing cabinet, or my closet—things are never where I remember placing them. I often describe it as organized chaos, but it's plain to see that I have zero idea where my stuff is.

Now, I've been sharing my space with my sister, who's been with living with me for the last couple of months—shared bed, room, desk, closet, all of it! And compared to her neatly stacked areas, my side looks like it was hit by a hurricane.

Here's what I've learned from my sister, the "closet organizer" who's got a pretty neat system. Follow these simple tips, and you'll be an organizing pro in no time. 


I watch in complete amazement (from the corner of my eye) how my sister spends a good 15 minutes simply sorting her clothes—those back from the laundry, those from the dry cleaners, and those she's ironed at home (of course). She divides her drawers into four neat piles: everyday daywear, evening wear, night jammies, and lingerie. Before putting them in, she carefully folds and hangs each garment in the same fashion, so that they stack up neatly.

The Elimination Round

She does this little thing she calls "spring cleaning"; except, this overhaul takes place every three months! She reviews her clothes, packs up the ones that are no longer weather appropriate, and donates the ones that no longer fit or that have stains. In comes her new jacket, and or a pretty springtime off-the-shoulder dress that was stored away.


It pays to have structure when it comes to organizing. While I shove in my clothes at random, my sister makes use of all the little drawers in the closet. In fact, she's even bought some inserts that she can just clip on to the walls, leave on the dressing table, or use in her closet. She can find her favorite skirt in five seconds; I'd take 15 minutes. 


Usage Rights

Take a few key tips from my sis. Organize your closet based on how often you use an item. When organizing your wardrobe, think about access points. Here is an example of how to organize your closet based on usage.

  • Clothes you wear on the reg (we’re thinking office wear) need to be at eye level and easy to access.
  • Your jammies and weekend lounging attire can all be stored lower down or in a drawer.
  • Place the items you rarely use or wear on the higher shelves.
  • Lastly, have a rotational system for seasonal clothes, so that you have only what you need in your closet. 


If The Shoe Fits

We can't all be Carrie Bradshaw with a closet dedicated to just shoes, but it does help if you know how to manage your space.

First, get rid of the boxes. An ingenious trick I picked up from my sister is to simply fix a rod (in the bottom-most shelf) to hang your heels on. She also sticks tennis balls on the side of the doors at intervals. These act as hooks for her running shoes, the flaps of which are thrown around the balls (here's how it should look). 

As for the expensive ones, she keeps the cloth bags that she receives with her new shoes, and stores each pair separately so that they don't get scratched, stained, or dented. (How did I not get her cleaning goddess genes, anyway?)

Let There Be Light

For those who've been getting dressed in the dark (because you live with a roommate or wake up early), light fixtures in your closet are really to install. Wardrobe lights also help you test whether your clothes are too sheer to be worn without a slip. You can also finally spot the difference between a pair of slate gray pants and black ones. 


Other Tips & Tricks

  • Place an umbrella stand inside the closet (horizontally or vertically, depending on the space) on the same hinge you would your belts.
  • Store your yoga mats inside your closet to prevent them from opening up or rolling about.
  • Use shelf dividers to separate your folded clothes neatly. This tip also works well to organize your linen closet or kitchen cabinets.
  • Folded clothes take less space than those on hangers, if you're overstocked. 
  • You can use a high-gloss mirror sheet on the inside of your closet door for a quick preview of your look while you get dressed. 
Once you get used to keeping your clothes in an orderly fashion, you'll start shopping for organizing accessories with as much passion as you do your clothes; just like my sister does, and now I do, too! 

Related Articles

Join The Conversation